New College Durham has announced it is to invest in a new build project to meet the needs of the local and regional economy. The new development will focus on ensuring the college has world-class facilities for teaching STEM subjects.
The development has been designed to meet the needs of the local community which has recently experienced an increase in financial sector jobs, with start-ups such as Atom Bank creating a new demand on skills.
There is also a growing need to replace skilled workers who are approaching retirement age. Durham is also set to experience a 10% increase in school leavers between 2019 and 2023.
The new facilities would help the college achieve wider regional priorities, which are set by the North East Local Enterprise Partnership (NELEP). Amongst the top four priorities are advanced manufacturing, sub-sea and off-shore, renewable technologies, health and life sciences and digital industries.
John Widdowson, principal and chief executive of New College Durham, said: “The new development has been designed to respond to our very specific local and regional economic needs. As a college we already have a growing presence in STEM and related subjects including applied science, engineering, construction and the build environment, manufacturing and digital industries.”
In the coming years it’s expected that there will be more of a focus on directing young people into these subjects so they can secure jobs in these growing sectors.
The development is currently in the planning stage and, if approved, work will begin in October 2018. It’s expected to be operational by September 2019.
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